Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Re-acclimating to the Great Outdoors

As of late I’ve resumed an old running habit of mine; namely running outdoors.

The recent weather has still been sorta crummy but now that I’ve officially started “training” I decided a reasonable dose of “manning up” was in order… And so for the past not one, not two, but three runs I’ve braved the elements (slightly icy with temperatures in the upper 20’s) and headed outdoors for my runs…

Because this was my first winter of consistent training, I was surprised to find that transitioning from the treadmill to the pavement has proved a more taxing task than what I had originally anticipated. I had read that outdoor running can present an increased challenge in comparison to treadmill running because factors such as wind resistance, uneven footing, varying terrain, etc… Academically this all makes perfect since to me… Yet it was still easy enough to gloss over those facts when I was sitting in the warm comfort of my office, sipping cocoa and designing my training plan. In the end I was ill prepared for the initial toll that the transition would put on my body.

First off, I’ve rediscovered muscle soreness in places I haven’t felt for a long time… There’s this one spot on my upper calves, another on my right foot, and yet another at the front of my shins; basically all the muscles that I haven’t utilized while running on a treadmill but have suddenly called on to keep me balanced and upright as I navigate the gravelly, post-winter potholed streets of my neighborhood.

Also there’s been the re-introduction to hills… I mean WTF?!? I mean check this out dude… I’m running along and suddenly I’m running at an incline and then next thing I know I’m running down a decline…
“So, what’s the big deal?” you might be thinking to yourself…
Well, get this… I didn’t even touch the incline adjust button on the treadmill. The road just magically changed its slope all my itself!!!

Finally, (and let me warn you, I saved the "best" for last) I became re-acquainted to a particularly nasty old running buddy of mine… today a phenomenon that I’ve previously seen referred to the “poopy cramps” struck me halfway through my 5 mile loop… Luckily, it was a gaseous false alarm and I was able to quell it with just the right amount of butt clenching… However it did get me thinking about how an emergency situation just doesn’t have the same gravitas at the gym because you’re always with 100 feet of a bathroom (BTW, for the benefit of my general American reading public, that's a third of a football field)… Of course if you do find yourself having to pass a gaseous unpleasantry at the gym you still have to concern yourself with releasing it with just the right amount of pressure to render it silent and just the right amount of trajectory so that the hot chick running on the treadmill at your left could plausibly believe that the source of the abominable perfume could be emanating from the sweaty dude on the treadmill at your right… a attained and refined skill all in itself... but I digress.

So to sum it up: Running outside is really doing a number on me so far. I’m sore!!! I mean, at least it’s a good kind of sore… the kind of sore that’s really just your body's way of letting you know that it’s adapting… but sore none the less.

So now the question is: How is this going to affect my training plan? Hopefully not much… Hopefully in a few weeks time I’ll have worked the kinks out and will be back to my old pavement pounding self. For now though, I’m thinking I might have to reevaluate the next week or two of my training regiment… possibly schedule an extra day or two of rest in there? I have seven months of hard training ahead of me that leaves plenty of time to make up lost miles assuming that I’m healthy!!!


  1. LMAO at your post. Isn't it great how us runners share all the good and the bad of our runs? Yes, I would guess that letting one rip towards the hot chick running nearby is a very bad idea. Sounds like that won't be a problem since you have a game-plan. Here in Connecticut we're having a "heat wave." Today it was 45 degrees when I ran, and it's going to hit 50 by the weekend. I feel your pain of running in temps in the 20's.

  2. yeahhhh the bathroom sprints! i have been having trouble with those for a while now... ugh. i still hate getting them on the treadmill 'cause usually some treadmill thief hops on in the few minutes i'm gone! even if i leave my water, towel, etc on the machine. stupid gym people ;)

    thanks for the measurement conversion. i wasn't sure how long 100ft was?